IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/ecolec/v159y2019icp157-176.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Economic Growth Quality, Environmental Sustainability, and Social Welfare in China - Provincial Assessment Based on Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI)

Author

Listed:
  • Long, Xianling
  • Ji, Xi

Abstract

In order to devise scientific and sustainable development strategy, it is vital to assess the quality of economic growth. As a useful complement to traditional economic indicators, GPI's most reputed virtue is its great improvement in evaluating environmental and social costs. In this paper we estimate the GPI for all 31 provinces in mainland China from 1997 to 2016. GPI estimation is highly sensitive to income inequality, climate change damage, and depletion of non-renewables. We address contestable methodological assumptions associated with the three items which have been usually ignored in empirical studies. We use the Atkinson index in place of the Gini index as a measure of income inequality. We avoid the problematic duplicated counting of climate change damage and the unjustified cost escalation factor in depletion of non-renewables. Our results show that: first, GPI per capita has recently declined in some provinces, unveiling a threat to social welfare and sustainability; second, the “relative threshold effect”—the progress of social welfare promotion is slower than the expansion of economic scale—has been found in many provinces; third, resource consumption and environmental pollution, especially water pollution and carbon emissions, would generate substantial welfare losses.

Suggested Citation

  • Long, Xianling & Ji, Xi, 2019. "Economic Growth Quality, Environmental Sustainability, and Social Welfare in China - Provincial Assessment Based on Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI)," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 157-176.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:159:y:2019:i:c:p:157-176
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2019.01.002
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921800918313612
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2019.01.002?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ji, Xi & Long, Xianling, 2016. "A review of the ecological and socioeconomic effects of biofuel and energy policy recommendations," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 41-52.
    2. Ackerman, Frank & Stanton, Elizabeth A., 2012. "Climate risks and carbon prices: Revising the social cost of carbon," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 6, pages 1-25.
    3. Posner, Stephen M. & Costanza, Robert, 2011. "A summary of ISEW and GPI studies at multiple scales and new estimates for Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and the State of Maryland," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(11), pages 1972-1980, September.
    4. Costanza, Robert & Erickson, Jon & Fligger, Karen & Adams, Alan & Adams, Christian & Altschuler, Ben & Balter, Stephanie & Fisher, Brendan & Hike, Jessica & Kelly, Joe, 2004. "Estimates of the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) for Vermont, Chittenden County and Burlington, from 1950 to 2000," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1-2), pages 139-155, November.
    5. Françoise Lemoine & Grégoire Mayo & Sandra Poncet & Deniz Ünal, 2014. "The Geographic Pattern of China's Growth and Convergence within Industry," Working Papers 2014-04, CEPII research center.
    6. Daly, Herman E., 1987. "The economic growth debate: What some economists have learned but many have not," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 323-336, December.
    7. Herman E. Daly, 1972. "In Defense of a Steady-State Economy," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 54(5), pages 945-954.
    8. Yu Hou, 2017. "Calculating a GPI for Liaoning Province of China," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 134(1), pages 263-276, October.
    9. Hamilton, Clive, 1999. "The genuine progress indicator methodological developments and results from Australia," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 13-28, July.
    10. Coulter, John E., 2017. "A physical economic model of ecosystem services," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 195-200.
    11. Kubiszewski, Ida & Costanza, Robert & Gorko, Nicole E. & Weisdorf, Michael A. & Carnes, Austin W. & Collins, Cathrine E. & Franco, Carol & Gehres, Lillian R. & Knobloch, Jenna M. & Matson, Gayle E. & , 2015. "Estimates of the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) for Oregon from 1960–2010 and recommendations for a comprehensive shareholder's report," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 1-7.
    12. Lawn, Philip & Clarke, Matthew, 2010. "The end of economic growth? A contracting threshold hypothesis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(11), pages 2213-2223, September.
    13. Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh & Miklós Antal, 2014. "Evaluating Alternatives to GDP as Measures of Social Welfare and Progress. WWWforEurope Working Paper No. 56," WIFO Studies, WIFO, number 47188, June.
    14. Lenssen, Nicholas & Flavin, Christopher, 1996. "Sustainable energy for tomorrow's world : The case for an optimistic view of the future," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(9), pages 769-781, September.
    15. Howarth, Richard B. & Kennedy, Kevin, 2016. "Economic growth, inequality, and well-being," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 231-236.
    16. O'Mahony, Tadhg & Escardó-Serra, Paula & Dufour, Javier, 2018. "Revisiting ISEW Valuation Approaches: The Case of Spain Including the Costs of Energy Depletion and of Climate Change," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 144(C), pages 292-303.
    17. Andrade, Daniel Caixeta & Garcia, Junior Ruiz, 2015. "Estimating the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) for Brazil from 1970 to 2010," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 49-56.
    18. Philip Lawn, 2005. "An Assessment of the Valuation Methods Used to Calculate the Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW), Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI), and Sustainable Net Benefit Index (SNBI)," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 185-208, June.
    19. Kubiszewski, Ida & Costanza, Robert & Franco, Carol & Lawn, Philip & Talberth, John & Jackson, Tim & Aylmer, Camille, 2013. "Beyond GDP: Measuring and achieving global genuine progress," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 57-68.
    20. Long, X. & Ji, Xi & Ulgiati, S., 2017. "Is urbanization eco-friendly? An energy and land use cross-country analysis," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 387-396.
    21. Herman E. Daly, 1991. "Towards an Environmental Macroeconomics," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 67(2), pages 255-259.
    22. Maria Cracolici & Miranda Cuffaro & Peter Nijkamp, 2010. "The Measurement of Economic, Social and Environmental Performance of Countries: A Novel Approach," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 95(2), pages 339-356, January.
    23. Bleys, Brent, 2008. "Proposed changes to the Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare: An application to Belgium," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(4), pages 741-751, February.
    24. Jackson, Tim, 2019. "The Post-growth Challenge: Secular Stagnation, Inequality and the Limits to Growth," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 156(C), pages 236-246.
    25. Bleys, Brent & Whitby, Alistair, 2015. "Barriers and opportunities for alternative measures of economic welfare," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 162-172.
    26. Daly, Herman E, 1974. "The Economics of the Steady State," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(2), pages 15-21, May.
    27. Stymne, Susanna & Jackson, Tim, 2000. "Intra-generational equity and sustainable welfare: a time series analysis for the UK and Sweden," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 219-236, May.
    28. Wen, Zongguo & Zhang, Kunmin & Du, Bin & Li, Yadong & Li, Wei, 2007. "Case study on the use of genuine progress indicator to measure urban economic welfare in China," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2-3), pages 463-475, August.
    29. Max-Neef, Manfred, 1995. "Economic growth and quality of life: a threshold hypothesis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 115-118, November.
    30. Stockhammer, Engelbert & Hochreiter, Harald & Obermayr, Bernhard & Steiner, Klaus, 1997. "The index of sustainable economic welfare (ISEW) as an alternative to GDP in measuring economic welfare. The results of the Austrian (revised) ISEW calculation 1955-1992," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 19-34, April.
    31. Neumayer, Eric, 2000. "On the methodology of ISEW, GPI and related measures: some constructive suggestions and some doubt on the 'threshold' hypothesis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 347-361, September.
    32. Eric Neumayer, 1999. "The ISEW -- not an Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 48(1), pages 77-101, September.
    33. Jackson, Tim & Victor, Peter A., 2016. "Does slow growth lead to rising inequality? Some theoretical reflections and numerical simulations," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 206-219.
    34. Howarth, Richard B. & Farber, Stephen, 2002. "Accounting for the value of ecosystem services," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 421-429, June.
    35. Castaneda, Beatriz E., 1999. "An index of sustainable economic welfare (ISEW) for Chile," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 231-244, February.
    36. Pulselli, Federico Maria & Ciampalini, Francesca & Tiezzi, Enzo & Zappia, Carlo, 2006. "The index of sustainable economic welfare (ISEW) for a local authority: A case study in Italy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 271-281, November.
    37. Lawn, Philip A., 2003. "A theoretical foundation to support the Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW), Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI), and other related indexes," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 105-118, February.
    38. Herman E. Daly, 2014. "From Uneconomic Growth to a Steady-State Economy," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 16030, September.
    39. Talberth, John & Weisdorf, Michael, 2017. "Genuine Progress Indicator 2.0: Pilot Accounts for the US, Maryland, and City of Baltimore 2012–2014," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 1-11.
    40. Sebastian Gil & Jerzy Sleszynski, 2003. "An index of sustainable economic welfare for Poland," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(1), pages 47-55.
    41. Pulselli, Federico M. & Bravi, Mirko & Tiezzi, Enzo, 2012. "Application and use of the ISEW for assessing the sustainability of a regional system: A case study in Italy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 766-778.
    42. Fox, Mairi-Jane V. & Erickson, Jon D., 2018. "Genuine Economic Progress in the United States: A Fifty State Study and Comparative Assessment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 29-35.
    43. Ji, Xi & Yao, Yixin & Long, Xianling, 2018. "What causes PM2.5 pollution? Cross-economy empirical analysis from socioeconomic perspective," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 458-472.
    44. Hayashi, Takashi, 2015. "Measuring rural–urban disparity with the Genuine Progress Indicator: A case study in Japan," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 260-271.
    45. Clarke, Matthew & Islam, Sardar M.N., 2005. "Diminishing and negative welfare returns of economic growth: an index of sustainable economic welfare (ISEW) for Thailand," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 81-93, July.
    46. Beça, Pedro & Santos, Rui, 2010. "Measuring sustainable welfare: A new approach to the ISEW," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(4), pages 810-819, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Jean Bonnet & Eva Coll-Martínez & Patricia Renou-Maissant, 2021. "Evaluating Sustainable Development by Composite Index: Evidence from French Departments," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 13(2), pages 1-23, January.
    2. Van der Slycken, Jonas & Bleys, Brent, 2020. "A Conceptual Exploration and Critical Inquiry into the Theoretical Foundation(s) of Economic Welfare Measures," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 176(C).
    3. Ji, Xi & Han, Mengyao & Ulgiati, Sergio, 2020. "Optimal allocation of direct and embodied arable land associated to urban economy: Understanding the options deriving from economic globalization," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 91(C).
    4. Jian Yang & Chaohua Dong & Yongjin Chen, 2021. "Government’s Economic Performance Fosters Trust in Government in China: Assessing the Moderating Effect of Respect for Authority," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 154(2), pages 545-558, April.
    5. Kong, Qunxi & Guo, Rui & Wang, Yang & Sui, Xiuping & Zhou, Shimin, 2020. "Home-country environment and firms’ outward foreign direct investment decision: Evidence from Chinese firms," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 390-399.
    6. Tang, Pengcheng & Jiang, Qisheng & Mi, Lili, 2021. "One-vote veto: The threshold effect of environmental pollution in China's economic promotion tournament," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 185(C).

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Daniel Francisco Pais & Tiago Lopes Afonso & António Cardoso Marques & José A Fuinhas, 2019. "Are Economic Growth and Sustainable Development Converging? Evidence from the Comparable Genuine Progress Indicator for Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Countries," International Journal of Energy Economics and Policy, Econjournals, vol. 9(4), pages 202-213.
    2. Rugani, Benedetto & Marvuglia, Antonino & Pulselli, Federico Maria, 2018. "Predicting Sustainable Economic Welfare – Analysis and perspectives for Luxembourg based on energy policy scenarios," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 288-303.
    3. Kenny, Daniel C. & Costanza, Robert & Dowsley, Tom & Jackson, Nichelle & Josol, Jairus & Kubiszewski, Ida & Narulla, Harkiran & Sese, Saioa & Sutanto, Anna & Thompson, Jonathan, 2019. "Australia's Genuine Progress Indicator Revisited (1962–2013)," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 1-10.
    4. Bleys, Brent & Whitby, Alistair, 2015. "Barriers and opportunities for alternative measures of economic welfare," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 162-172.
    5. Posner, Stephen M. & Costanza, Robert, 2011. "A summary of ISEW and GPI studies at multiple scales and new estimates for Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and the State of Maryland," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(11), pages 1972-1980, September.
    6. O'Mahony, Tadhg & Escardó-Serra, Paula & Dufour, Javier, 2018. "Revisiting ISEW Valuation Approaches: The Case of Spain Including the Costs of Energy Depletion and of Climate Change," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 144(C), pages 292-303.
    7. Kubiszewski, Ida & Costanza, Robert & Franco, Carol & Lawn, Philip & Talberth, John & Jackson, Tim & Aylmer, Camille, 2013. "Beyond GDP: Measuring and achieving global genuine progress," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 57-68.
    8. Van der Slycken, Jonas & Bleys, Brent, 2020. "A Conceptual Exploration and Critical Inquiry into the Theoretical Foundation(s) of Economic Welfare Measures," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 176(C).
    9. Mirko Armiento, 2016. "The Sustainable Welfare Index for Italy, 1960-2013," Working Papers 1601, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Department of Economics, Society & Politics - Scientific Committee - L. Stefanini & G. Travaglini, revised 2016.
    10. Menegaki, Angeliki N. & Tugcu, Can Tansel, 2017. "Energy consumption and Sustainable Economic Welfare in G7 countries; A comparison with the conventional nexus," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 892-901.
    11. Armiento, Mirko, 2018. "The Sustainable Welfare Index: Towards a Threshold Effect for Italy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 152(C), pages 296-309.
    12. Beça, Pedro & Santos, Rui, 2010. "Measuring sustainable welfare: A new approach to the ISEW," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(4), pages 810-819, February.
    13. Pulselli, Federico M. & Bravi, Mirko & Tiezzi, Enzo, 2012. "Application and use of the ISEW for assessing the sustainability of a regional system: A case study in Italy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 766-778.
    14. Fox, Mairi-Jane V. & Erickson, Jon D., 2018. "Genuine Economic Progress in the United States: A Fifty State Study and Comparative Assessment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 29-35.
    15. Hayashi, Takashi, 2015. "Measuring rural–urban disparity with the Genuine Progress Indicator: A case study in Japan," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 260-271.
    16. Fox, Mairi-Jane V. & Erickson, Jon D., 2020. "Design and meaning of the genuine progress indicator: A statistical analysis of the U.S. fifty-state model," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 167(C).
    17. Jonas Van der Slycken & Brent Bleys, 2020. "Cost-shifting Versus “Full” Accountability: Dealing with Cross-time and Cross-boundary Issues in the ISEW and GPI. An application to Belgium," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 20/1003, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    18. Talberth, John & Weisdorf, Michael, 2017. "Genuine Progress Indicator 2.0: Pilot Accounts for the US, Maryland, and City of Baltimore 2012–2014," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 1-11.
    19. Jeffrey Wilson & Peter Tyedmers, 2013. "Rethinking What Counts. Perspectives on Wellbeing and Genuine Progress Indicator Metrics from a Canadian Viewpoint," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(1), pages 1-16, January.
    20. Kubiszewski, Ida & Costanza, Robert & Gorko, Nicole E. & Weisdorf, Michael A. & Carnes, Austin W. & Collins, Cathrine E. & Franco, Carol & Gehres, Lillian R. & Knobloch, Jenna M. & Matson, Gayle E. & , 2015. "Estimates of the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) for Oregon from 1960–2010 and recommendations for a comprehensive shareholder's report," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 1-7.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:159:y:2019:i:c:p:157-176. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.